At this point, I never want to run the Young Travel Writer competition again. For, when it comes to the final judging, how to name two winners when there are so many strong entries? How to break it gently to those who have not been selected that their observations, ideas and writing are strong, and they should continue and fulfil their potential? That their stories are engaging and informative, or just plain funny.
But we can only take two winners on the assignment to Australia's Coral Coast - the prize for the winners of our Young Travel Writer 2010 competition.
They are Alexander Port, who is 15 and at Guildford Grammar School, and Darcy Harwood, who is 13 and at Santa Maria College.
As you can read on this page, Alexander wrote about Paris, establishing his clever idea of using artists, in all their manifestations, as his theme, and developing it well.
Darcy wrote about Egypt, mixing description, information and interpretation.
They will join me and Greta Ambrose, from our Newspapers in Education department, on assignment in Australia's Coral Coast tourism region, which has sponsored the competition.
More specifically, we will be at Ningaloo Reef and the North-West Cape. There will be writing and photographic sessions, and plenty of practical help. And you, the readers, will see and read the results in these pages or Travel on Saturdays.
We are grateful to Australia's Coral Coast tourism region for supporting the competition.
Although Alexander and Darcy wrote about overseas travel, it didn't matter where people had been. The judges were looking at writing and potential.
And there are many other writers that deserve particular mention.
High up in the finalists was Brodie Cartwright-Worrall, who cleverly compared being in a forest of tall sequoias to being in New York City.
Carly Lynch showed good awareness in a piece about Bali food, and Courtney Spencer cleverly wrote her Disney story in Disney style.
Through smart writing and humour, Hannah Bardsley took us with her for two days in France, and Jack Povah took one moment in Fremantle Prison and used it as a strong angle for his story.
We could almost smell the hot bread at the Yallingup bakery in Laura Cocks' well-constructed story, and Roya Abshar combined description and humour in a piece about the Lickey Hills in England.
Also worthy of special mention are Annie Naveh in Amsterdam; Alisha Brandon in Singapore; Amy McCormick in Langkawi; Ayden Koch in Gove; Belle Armstrong in Molloy; Bethany Swanton in Fremantle; Breeanna Harris in Tasmania; Carina Mancinone in Venice; Emily Edwards in Albany; Emily Olsen in Rottnest; Giorgia Papalia in India; Jessica Devlin in Pakistan; Julia Svanberg in Scotia; Matthew Hobley in Thailand; Olivia Bradford in Bali; Emily Walford in the Swiss Alps, and Shayne Solin in a caravan called Pumpkin.
All of those mentioned are in no particular order, and are the tip of the iceberg. Many young writers took us with them (and their families) to places near and far.
We thank you all for you efforts and for sharing your experiences.
We also hope that you got something from the writing - that you might always use this 300 to 400-word format to keep a sweet little story from each of your holidays, and other moments in your life.
The competition was open to writers in Years 8 to 11 and while many youngsters sat down and penned their entries individually, school classes got involved too. And we thank and praise all the teachers involved for helping their students towards some terrific stories.
So, to all the entrants, and all those who thought they might, didn't bother, and now wished they had, enjoy your travels, keep notes, write stories just for yourselves, take good photographs and captions and keep them safely and watch this space. You may just want to draw on them sometime in the future.
Oh, OK, and we might just run Young Travel Writer again.Watch this space.
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